Rental improvements can make a difference


As any property owner knows, managing a property takes time and effort.

Regular maintenance and scheduled improvements are key to the success of owning any rental property in order to attract potential renters as well as sustain property values and a positive relationship with neighbors.

What everyone wants to know is which improvements are desirable and which ones reap the greatest benefit?

For starters, make sure the outside of the property is neat and attractive. Potential renters will judge the rest of the property by how it looks on the outside. Savvy renters realize that deferred maintenance could be a sign of who you are as a landlord. Be sure to develop short-term and long-term plans for maintenance and updates.

Historically, both minor and major kitchen and bath remodels and updates offer excellent value for every dollar spent. Balance the cost of each improvement, repair or upgrade with its overall value. Research what landlords in your area are offering in terms of improvements and amenities to ensure you are not over-improving your property and that you are featuring similar enhancements.

Updating kitchen appliances gives the kitchen a cosmetic boost and adds economical value. Newer appliances are energy saving, more efficient and less likely to require a service call. Select mid-range matching appliances with solid performance reviews. Consider installing a washer and dryer, if there is space; all-in-one units work well in tight spaces.

New countertops can offer value to kitchen and baths updates, too. Invest in durable and functional counters that have a touch of style. Countertops made of granite, slate, quartz, or another solid surface material are popular and durable.

Flooring is another upgrade that is valued. Many younger renters often prefer hardwood, laminate flooring and tile. Carpeting is less expensive per square foot, the downside is that carpet needs to be replaced much sooner than hard surface flooring.

Many renters like carpet in the bedrooms, owners will opt for carpeting the bedroom but installing hard surface flooring in the living areas. Linoleum is not preferred and does not have a good return on your investment.

Windows and roofing improvements save money for the owner and the renter. Double pane windows are energy efficient and reduce outside noise. A leaking roof can cause tremendous damage to the structure and the internal elements to the home.

Replacing doors is expensive. A reasonable alternative is replacing the door hardware – even the hinges. Over time the handles and hinges become out of date and coated with paint. Finishes in matte gold, oil-rubbed bronze and brushed satin nickel are desirable.

Quick fixes to consider

  • Fresh paint. Always use neutral colors. Eggshell paint can be cleaned easily and is recommended. If you are not going to paint the trim, then at least wash the trim thoroughly before painting then tape it off.
  • Increase storage in cabinets, in the garage and in the closets. Add built-in shelving or install hooks.
  • New knobs and handles. Replacing cabinet hardware is an inexpensive way to make over a room.
  • Updated fixtures. Install new light fixtures, ceiling fans or upgrade faucets to give the space a more contemporary look.
  • Smart home technology. Install some trendy new technology such as smart locks, a smart thermostat or new Google Home devices.

A proactive, attentive property manager can help identify potential problems and needed repairs or updates. Remember, quality upgrades done professionally will result will maximize the income on your rental investment and reduce the amount of time it is vacant.

Murfey Company is a leader in building, construction and property management. To learn more visit